Porsche Teams strive to tie American Le Mans Series "Lucky 13" win streak record at Infineon Raceway stop in Northern California ATLANTA - July 22 - In the first years of the American Le Mans Series (1999-2001), Porsche race eteams won 13 ALMS...
Porsche Teams strive to tie American Le Mans Series "Lucky 13" win streak record at Infineon Raceway stop in Northern California
ATLANTA - July 22 - In the first years of the American Le Mans Series (1999-2001), Porsche race eteams won 13 ALMS races in a row. When the 13 Porsche teams take to the etrack for the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma on July 27, they will be etrying to set anoth r 13-in-a-row streak dating back to Sebring, 2002.
Since that time, the GT class of all 12 American Le Mans Series events have been won by either Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsches or the Sonoma-based The Racers Group Porsches - both of whom will be leading candidates to capture this year's Infineon Grand Pr ix of Sonoma. Last year, the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Lucas Luhr/Sascha Maassen won the event - and went on to be 2003 ALMS GT Driver Champions - with The Racer's Group Porsche of Kevin Buckler/Marino Franchitti finishing second at their home track.
"Things are more challenging in the GT class now than they were a year ago," said Alwin Springer, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.
"The newly-entered top Ferrari teams in the class will give the Porsches a tough battle at Infineon Raceway as the BMWs did in the early years of ALMS. But the top Porsche teams have also improved the speed and handling of their race cars," said Springer, who noted that weight savings and 15 additional horsepower has improved the performance of the 2003 Porsche 911 GT3 RS compared to last year.
The Infineon Raceway event, which will be broadcast live on NBC television at 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight time, will feature German Porsche factory drivers Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen, the most successful teammates currently driving in the American Le Mans Series, with Luhr having won the 12 Hours of Sebring a record four years in a row, and Maassen now the having more wins than any other driver in ALMS history - a record 16 career victories. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, Alex Job Racing partnered with Petersen Motorsports of Las Vegas, and, along with Emmanuel Collard, Luhr and Maassen captured the GT class.
The other Alex Job Racing Porsche will be driven by two more German factory drivers, Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister, who won the most recent ALMS event three weeks ago at Road Atlanta. Bernhard/Bergmeister, winners of an ALMS race a year ago (Road Ame rica), are only eight points behind their team drivers after two events.
The owner of the Alex Job Racing/Petersen Motorsports winning Porsche at Le Mans, Petersen Motorsports, returns to the ALMS series at Infineon with veteran drivers Johnny Mowlem from London and Craig Stanton from Long Beach, Calif. Mowlem and Stanton fini shed second earlier this season at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The Infineon Raceway-based The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS team, headed by owner/driver Kevin Buckler, from nearby Novato, CA, will have three cars entered, led by Buckler and 1999 ALMS GT Champion Cort Wagner, from Pacific Palisades, CA. Buckler ha s won the 24 Hours of Daytona twice - with an overall win this year, and the GT class at Le Mans a year ago. Mechanical problems this year at Le Mans prevented a four-race winning streak in major 24-hour races. With eight of the ten ALMS races still left in the season, and a top-notch co-driver in Wagner, Buckler will push hard for the ALMS GT Drivers Championship. The other The Racer's Group Porsches will be driven by Michael Schrom/Pierre Ehret and Chris Gleason/Marc Bunting.
Second at Le Mans this year, and due for better luck then they have had in the first two events, is the Orbit Racing YES Network Porsche of Leo Hindery, of New York City, and Peter Baron, of Deerfield Beach, FL. Teamed with Porsche factory pilot Marc Lieb at Le Mans, Hindery and Baron gave the Alex Job car pressure for the entire event, leading the race for more than an hour during the night. The team, which scored its highest finish last year at Mosport (second), is looking for its first ALMS win. The se cond Orbit Porsche will be driven by the father-son team of Joe and Jay Policastro, from Latrobe, PA, who were busy testing while the rest of the team went to Le Mans. They also entered their Porsche in the Grand-Am race at Birmingham Motorsports Park, an d landed their first professional podium finish - a third place in the GT class.
Although no strangers to the U.S. - as they have run here for both Sebring and Petit Le Mans - the British-based PK Sport team will enter two Porsche 911 GT3 RS race cars for the remainder of the ALMS season. The lead car, to be driven by PK Sport regular Robin Liddell, will also feature the ALMS debut of Australian hot-shoe Alex Davison, who was ill three weeks ago in Atlanta and unable to compete. Davison, who moved from Melbourne to Germany several years ago to further his racing career, had the distin ction of winning one of the Porsche Supercup races last year at Indianapolis, besting Timo Bernhard by more than four seconds. The second PK Sport car will be driven by San Rafael, CA's Vic Rice, with the second driver still to be named.
Other Porsche teams include the J-3 Racing Porsche of Justin Jackson, of Buford, GA, and former SCCA World Challenge champion David Murry, from Cumming, GA; and Chicago-based Zip Racing, which has entered a Porsche for Spencer Pumpelly, of Mason Neck, VA, and Andy Lally, of Northport, NY.
The Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma will be broadcast live on the NBC television network starting at 3:00 PM Eastern Daylight time on Sunday, July 27. The entire event, along with Saturday qualifying, will be broadcast live online on the American Le Mans Ra dio Web, which can be accessed on the Web at www.americanlemans.com. Live timing and scoring for qualifying and the race are also available at www.americanlemans.com on Saturday and Sunday.
The official Porsche media web site - www.press.porsche.com - will have racing results and photos for the Infineon Raceway event for the Porsches entered. Use the word "carrera" for both user name and password, then choose "motorsports news" to find the re sults. The same information is posted for consumers on Porsche's main site www.porsche.com/motorsport (click on Porsche Motorsports North America and "race reports").
The official race notes and results for all the classes at the Infineon Raceway event can be found on the official site for the American Le Mans Series www.americanlemans.com. .
Infineon Raceway of Sonoma - GT Entry List
#23, Sascha Maassen,Germany;Lucas Luhr,Germany; Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#24, Timo Bernhard,Germany;Jorg Bergmeister,Germany; Alex Job Racing McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#28, Stephane Gregoire, Carmel, IN;Eliseo Salazar, Santiago, Chile; Ferrari 360 Modena (GT)
#29, Andrea Garbagnati, Monaco; Ludovico Manfredi, Key Biscayne, FL; Ferrari 360 Modena (GT)
#33, Spencer Pumpelly,Mason Neck, VA;Andy Lally,Northport, NY;Zip Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#35, Ralf Kelleners, Duesseldorf, Germany; Anthony Lazzaro, Acworth, GA, Ferrari 360 Modena (GT)
#42, Joseph Policastro Sr.,Latrobe, PA;Mike Fitzgerald,Fountain Hills, AZ;J.A. Policastro Jr.,Latrobe, PA; Orbit Racing Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#43, Leo Hindery,New York, NY;Peter Baron,Deerfield Beach, FL; Orbit Racing YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#60 Robin Liddel,Scotland; Alex Davison, Melbourne, Australia, PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#61. Vic Rice, San Rafael, CA; PK Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#63, Shane Lewis, Gainesville, GA; Terry Borcheller, Phoenix, AZ; Ferrari 360 Modena (GT)
#66, Kevin Buckler,Sonoma, CA; Cort Wagner, Pacific Palisades, CA; The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#67, Michael Schrom,Ghent, NY;Pierre Ehret,Santa Rosa, CA; The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#68, Chris Gleason,Johnstown, PA;Marc Bunting,Monkton, MD; The Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#79, David Murry,Cumming, GA;Justin Jackson,Buford, GA; J-3 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#89, Scott Badar, Santa Monica, CA; Oswaldo Negri, Miami, FL; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT)
#03, Joe Foster, Lawrenceville, GA;Rick Skelton, Lawrenceville, GA;Brad Nyberg, Houston, TX; Panoz Esperante (GT)